European Championship Qualifying - Group C
Belarus0Northern Ireland1

Belarus 0-1 Northern Ireland: Late Paddy McNair strike makes it four wins from four

Aleksandr Martynovich in action against NI's Conor Washington
Aleksandr Martynovich in action against NI's Conor Washington

Northern Ireland remain three points clear at the top of Euro 2020 qualifying Group C after Paddy McNair's 86th-minute strike gave them a 1-0 victory over Belarus in Borisov.

The win means Northern Ireland have won four games in a row at the start of a qualifying campaign for the first time.

McNair cut inside and drilled a low right-foot shot past Aleksandr Gutor for his first international goal.

NI face double headers against Germany and the Netherlands in the autumn.

The second-placed Germans beat Estonia 8-0 on Tuesday to make it three wins out of three, with the Dutch having picked up three points from their opening two fixtures.

Three-team battle for qualification

It now looks like a three-way battle for the two qualifying spots on offer for next summer's championships.

Both Estonia and Belarus are out of contention, having failed to pick up a point from a combined total of seven games played.

O'Neill's side began their ultimately successful bid to reach the Euro 2016 finals with three successive wins in September and October 2014 but have now gone one better to lie on 12 points ahead of their four remaining games.

Germany will host the Netherlands in the next set of group games on 6 September, before Joachim Low's side travel to face NI in Belfast three days later, the same night that the Dutch are away to Estonia.

Northern Ireland will finish their campaign with matches away to the Dutch in October, then at home to the Netherlands and away to Germany in November.

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Paddy McNair says NI's four wins put pressure on Germany and the Netherlands

Success on their travels

Northern Ireland had failed to secure a win or score a goal in their last seven away matches before beating Estonia 2-1 on Saturday, but this triumph in Belarus gave them back-to-back qualifying victories on the road for only the second time - their previous consecutive away wins coming against Latvia and Lithuania in 1993.

O'Neill's men are unbeaten in 10 European Championship qualifying games, stretching back to their previous campaign, and have defeated Belarus in all three meetings between the countries.

Having seen off both Estonia and Belarus at Windsor Park in March, NI have now beaten both nations away from home to give themselves a fighting chance of making the Euro finals for only the second time.

The four successes in a row come on the back of four losses from four outings in the Nations League at the end of last year.

In contrast, the Belarusians' hopes of qualification rest on a side-door entry as one of the four Nations League winners.

Their promotion from League D to League C in the inaugural competition means that they are in the play-offs for a slot at the tournament which will be played in various countries across Europe.

O'Neill rings the changes

O'Neill chose to start all three players who made such a big impact as substitutes in Estonia - Jordan Jones, plus goalscorers Josh Magennis and Conor Washington - with midfielder Corry Evans also coming into the line-up.

George Saville, Stuart Dallas and Liam Boyce were named as substitutes, with the former two being introduced off the bench in the second half.

Belarus belied the fact that they lie 48 places behind their opponents in the Fifa rankings, 33 as opposed to 81, by enjoying more of the possession in the first half but the only clear-cut chance of the opening 45 minutes fell to Washington, who flashed a right-foot shot from 20 yards wide of the post in the fourth minute.

The lively Washington saw an early second-half effort comfortably dealt with by Gutor, who also parried Saville's drive, while Michael Smith was wide with two late strikes on goal.

Igor Stasevich's right-foot shot was saved low down to his left by Bailey Peacock-Farrell in the 70th minute but McNair's sweetly-struck late goal on his 29th appearance sparked wild celebrations among the travelling support in the Borisov Arena.

The Middlebrough player found the net after accepting a pass from Jones, who impressed throughout with his energy and attacking threat in the hot and humid conditions.

Line-ups

Belarus

  • 1Gutor
  • 4ShitovSubstituted forVeretiloat 71'minutes
  • 3Martynovich
  • 17Naumov
  • 5Polyakov
  • 18Maevski
  • 8KorzunBooked at 35minsSubstituted forKislyakat 45'minutes
  • 7Kovalev
  • 14ShikavkaSubstituted forLaptevat 58'minutes
  • 22Stasevich
  • 23Nekhajchik

Substitutes

  • 2Dragun
  • 6Volkov
  • 9Laptev
  • 10Gromyko
  • 11Gordeychuk
  • 12Klimovich
  • 13Skavysh
  • 15Kislyak
  • 16Pavlyuchenko
  • 19Volodko
  • 20Veretilo
  • 21Pechenin

Northern Ireland

  • 1Peacock-Farrell
  • 19Smith
  • 20Cathcart
  • 5EvansBooked at 69mins
  • 3LewisBooked at 57mins
  • 17McNair
  • 8Davis
  • 13EvansSubstituted forSavilleat 69'minutes
  • 21MagennisSubstituted forDallasat 56'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 16WashingtonSubstituted forLaffertyat 72'minutesBooked at 83mins
  • 15Jones

Substitutes

  • 2McLaughlin
  • 4McAuley
  • 6Saville
  • 7Sykes
  • 9Boyce
  • 10Lafferty
  • 11Ferguson
  • 12McGovern
  • 14Dallas
  • 18Flanagan
  • 22Thompson
  • 23Hazard
Referee:
Harald Lechner
Attendance:
5,250

Match Stats

Home TeamBelarusAway TeamNorthern Ireland
Possession
Home55%
Away45%
Shots
Home9
Away13
Shots on Target
Home2
Away4
Corners
Home7
Away8
Fouls
Home17
Away15

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Belarus 0, Northern Ireland 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Belarus 0, Northern Ireland 1.

  3. Booking

    Stuart Dallas (Northern Ireland) is shown the yellow card.

  4. Post update

    Igor Stasevich (Belarus) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Michael Smith (Northern Ireland).

  6. Post update

    Attempt saved. Kyle Lafferty (Northern Ireland) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Syarhey Kislyak (Belarus).

  8. Post update

    Patrick McNair (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  9. Post update

    Attempt missed. Oleg Veretilo (Belarus) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Yuri Kovalev.

  10. Post update

    Corner, Northern Ireland. Conceded by Nikita Naumov.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Pavel Nekhajchik (Belarus).

  12. Post update

    Craig Cathcart (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  13. Goal!

    Goal! Belarus 0, Northern Ireland 1. Patrick McNair (Northern Ireland) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the left to the centre of the goal.

  14. Post update

    Attempt missed. Yuri Kovalev (Belarus) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Igor Stasevich with a cross following a corner.

  15. Post update

    Corner, Belarus. Conceded by Jordan Jones.

  16. Booking

    Kyle Lafferty (Northern Ireland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  17. Post update

    Oleg Veretilo (Belarus) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Kyle Lafferty (Northern Ireland).

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Michael Smith (Northern Ireland) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right following a set piece situation.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Oleg Veretilo (Belarus).

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Tuesday 11th June 2019

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1England220010196
2Czech Rep320156-16
3Kosovo31205415
4Montenegro4022310-72
5Bulgaria402257-22

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Ukraine431081710
2Luxembourg411245-14
3Serbia311157-24
4Portugal20201102
5Lithuania301237-41

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Northern Ireland440072512
2Germany3300132119
3Netherlands21016333
4Belarus400419-80
5Estonia3003112-110

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1R. of Ireland431051410
2Denmark31209545
3Switzerland21105324
4Georgia410348-43
5Gibraltar300306-60

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Hungary43016429
2Slovakia32017256
3Croatia32015416
4Wales310223-13
5Azerbaijan3003310-70

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Spain4400112912
2Sweden42118717
3Romania421111567
4Norway41218715
5Malta4103210-83
6Faroe Islands4004312-90

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Poland440080812
2Israel42118717
3Austria42027616
4Slovenia41217345
5North Macedonia411257-24
6Latvia4004113-120

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1France430112399
2Turkey43019279
3Iceland43015509
4Albania42025326
5Moldova4103210-83
6Andorra4004010-100

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Belgium44001111012
2Russia4301153129
3Kazakhstan42027706
4Scotland420247-36
5Cyprus41036513
6San Marino4004020-200

J

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Italy44001311212
2Finland43016249
3Armenia42027616
4Greece411268-24
5Bos-Herze411257-24
6Liechtenstein4004013-130
View full European Championship Qualifying tables

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